- Movie Rating -

Cashback (2006)

| August 1, 2006 | 0 Comments

Cashback is one of most cynical, sexist and insulting movies that I’ve seen in many moons. I can only hope that it is many more moons before I see its like again – maybe an eclipse just for good measure. This is a movie that tries to be a sex comedy, a love story and bittersweet love letter to the female form. It comes off like the kinds of things a 13 year-old would draw in his notebook when his parents aren’t looking.

The movie’s hero is Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff), a teenager who has just been dumped by his girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan) for reasons we never understand. He talks to us through narration throughout the movie and our only glimpse of their problems can be seen in comes a tongue-lashing that she gives him in slow motion. We don’t even get to hear what she’s saying over Ben’s narration.

Ben talks all the time. We hear his theories on art, on women and on relationships, which leave a lot to be desired. He takes us back through the early years of his sexual awakening, mostly to things that we really don’t want to know. Did we want to know that when he was a kid, his mother caught he and his best friend with erections and assumed they were gay? Did we want to know that he paid a neighbor girl $50 to lift her skirt to see her nethers? This is what he talks about.

Deep in despair and suffering from insomnia, Ben takes a night job at a grocery store where he works with a bunch of obnoxious goofs who perform pranks and stunts that could and should get them fired. But, no they’re too endearing to the manager for that. Also there’s a nice girl Sharon (Emilia Fox), the only girl in the movie that isn’t focused on as a sex object or a screaming bitch. She’s there to provide a love interest.  Women in this movie are, for the most part, just receptacles.

Anyway, while working at the store, Ben makes a discovery that – are you ready for this? – he can stop time.

It is never made clear exactly why he is able to stop time or if it is all in his mind. At any rate, during the time stops at the store he goes around and undresses the female customers so that he can draw their naked bodies. If this sounds like a felony, it is made even worse by the fact that the director plays this violation as if Ben were making some deep artistic statement. What is even worse is that all of the female customers are young and curvaceous with firm backsides and large breasts. Don’t get me started on the fact that they’re all white, nor the fact that these gorgeous women seem to have converged on the same supermarket in the middle of the night. This is a movie that only pretends to be about something.

Ben’s moments of pseudo-philosophy about his good reasons for gawking at large breasts are off-set by a cast of characters that make us want to leave the room. Their conversations are all about getting laid or past conquests to get laid, strippers, hookers or getting liquored up. They bungle around like 13 year-olds on caffeine. The men in the movie are sex-starved animals and the women are either strippers, prostitutes or objects of lust. This movie is an equal opportunity offender.

Director Sean Ellis flatters himself by making statements that are supposed to be meaningful and only come off as smarmy and crass. Ben has a lot of things to say but none of them are profound or genuine if you are really paying attention. Example: “I’ve always wanted to be a painter, and like many artists before me, the female form has always been a great source of fascination. I’ve always been in awe of the power they posses.” That’s followed by scene after scene of humiliating comic sex jokes that poke statements like that in the eye.

I think the moment that aggravated me most was the moment in which the idiots at work play a cruel joke on him by calling and pretending to be the owner of a famous gallery who is interested in his work. When poor Ben shows up for the appointment, naturally the man has never heard of Ben. BUT he wants to see the kid’s work and offers him an exhibit of his work. Yeah. Sure. Uh-huh. You bet. Never happen, not in this life or the next. Much like my next viewing of Cashback.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2006) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized